Wednesday 17 February 2016

"We only sing in English"

Friday 12 February 2016, Royal Antwerp 0 RFC Seraing 1, Belgian Second Division - Bosuil Stadium

On the Friday night, i should have been watching a game in Lier but a sudden change in fixtures meant a quick dash to Antwerp. i was slightly worried as it would be a late journey back to Lier but no need to worry.

After arriving at one of the finest railway stations in Europe and working out where to get the Metro from, I found myself at the Bosuil - "Tawny Owl" - Stadium and what a stadium to visit.

Run down, odd floodlights but then were the list of positives- the fantastic side stand, non-stop singing (in English) friendly club house, plenty of beer, programme, teamsheet and a crazy game of football to boot.

The ground missed out on modernisation when not selected as a ground for the European Championship but that has left it with an English feel to the ground, not to say it is all brilliant with the glass business seats stand behind the goal one of the oddest/ugliest I have seen.

I was in the main stand, surrounded by friendly beer drinking locals but the stand on the other side of the ground was where the noise all came from and with iys wooden benches, half the seats uncovered and its curve shape it will be the stand all fans want to see. I chose the main stand as it made it easier to rush back to the metro and back to Lier via the cathedral of the Antwerp trains station.

The game itself - crazy is the only way of describing it, Antwerp (the oldest club in Belgium with the much envied Matricule number of 1) are also top of the division but they lost! First an own goal from a free kick then it all went mad (well the Ref seemed to lose any idea of the rules) Antwerp equalised but the ref said he had already blown for a  foul by a Seraing defender, who was then shown a red card - but the video showed their had been no contact and the  defender had just fell over. Then Antwerp missed the penalty.

Seraing had little problem even with 10 men holding onto the lead and then with minutes to go Antwerp were awarded a couple of free kicks, the keeper made his way forward to the cheers of the locals - but not into the box for a hopeful header, crowd favourite Kudimbaba took the direct free kick - he failed to hit the target but the crowd were pleased, and they may have lost but the home crowd finished the match singing in English - "We love you Antwerp".

The atmosphere will not change much, the beer will flow, the songs in English will be sung but the ground is sure to change as Antwerp hope to be promoted.

I suggest you go now.

"Tawny Owl" should be on all footie fans bucket list.

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